MIAMI – "She had a smile that would light up the room," said Kennia Duran's mother, Jacqueline Serra, to the court during 19-year-old Eric Ellington's murder trial.
One by one, the family members of Duran, 24, and Julian Soler, 23, fought through the tears while they described what they lost on the night of July 25, 2011, when a then 16-year-old Ellington shot and killed them both at a Miami Gardens gas station.
"When Mr. Ellington shot my son, my life stopped," said Soler's father, Armando Soler.
"I still read his old text messages. No one should have to go through this," said Soler's stepsister, Jaclyn Parrish.
Ellington was convicted on two counts of first-degree murder in March. The fatal shooting was caught on camera and the haunting video was played again in the courtroom Friday, bringing the victims' families to tears.
Ellington's attorney painted him as a troubled young man with a rough home life, and as a teen with the potential to change.
"A ruling like that would say the defendant is a danger forever," said Ellington's attorney about the life in prison without parole sentence that prosecutors are seeking.
"We think that (sentence) is appropriate given the defendant's actions in this case," said prosecutors.
The judge is expected to announce Ellington's sentence at another hearing schedule for Oct. 6. He told the court he would like to use this time to review case law before making his ruling.
Two other men, Dylan McFarlane and Wayne Williams, were also arrested. They are awaiting trial.
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